Father's Day Thought
time Father's Day comes around I certainly think about my own
biological father but
my mind always turns quickly
to think of the "Our Father," that simple and beautiful
prayer of Jesus. ...
know that there are people who think that the "Our Father" is a sexist prayer that ought to be
edited in some way. I've heard of congregations that say, "Our
Father/Mother who art in heaven. That
seems to me, however well-intentioned, to be clumsy and unattractive.
I doubt it will
catch on very many places.
have suggested considering "Our
heavenly parent" but that, I think, depersonalizes
the whole thing and it is the very intimacy of the address
that, to me,
is the power of the prayer.
think, we need to remember that the gender isn't really so important.
We're not talking here about scientific fact. We're talking about
father or mother, the point that Jesus is getting at is that at the heart or core of everything is
a power and presence more like the devotion of a loving parent's
heart toward a beloved child than anything else we can possibly
problem, of course, is that positive poetry can be smashed by
negative reality. The word "father" can make us think
- depending on our experience of our own parent - of anything
from an oriental despot to a drunken bum.
that mental connection doesn't invalidate the insight into God's
nature. God is most like the very best that an earthly father
can possibly be, whether or not we happened to be blessed with
that particular father within our own nuclear family.
think there are several important implications to our being invited
by Jesus to think about and address the Creator of all the worlds
as "Our Father":
It takes God out of the "vague oblong blur" category
and puts us at least on the person-to-person level of acquaintance.
2. It helps us understand and truly believe the rather astonishing reality
that we are beloved children and, ultimately, heirs of all that is or
ever will be.
3. Fatherhood and family implies at least the possibility of siblings-sisters
and brothers who are equally beloved and precious in God's eyes-so that,
while our relationship to God can be personal, it can never be private.
We are our brother's keeper if we really understand all persons
to be members, along with us, of God's family.
child, brother, sister-very ordinary common words, but in them
there are essential clues about the Christian Gospel.
acknowledge God as "Our Father" is to accept God's
love for ourselves, but just as importantly, to accept the
responsibility to be
a sister or brother to every other human being.
for the June 16, 2002, issue of THE CHRONICLE, the
newsletter of Calvary Episcopal Church, Memphis, Tennessee.